Monday, December 3, 2012

November 13th thru December 2nd, 2012 – 36.34 Miles Total

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

You may recall that the last time I posted, I’d had a TERRIBLE time with Race Pace, the running club I joined with my friend, Lisa. That's Lisa in the pink!

The following week, I met with her to run the same route. This time I knew the hills were coming and while I knew they were a foeman worthy of my steel, I was ready to take ‘em on. The whole time I was running the hill, the mantra “I will NOT be your bitch! I will NOT be your bitch!” was blaring through my mind. I thought I had it!!

Then “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 came across my iPod and I *knew* I had it!!! Not only did I know that the top of the hill was near, that song always gets me pumped! So I did a body check and my body said “GO GET IT GIRL!” so I shifted into high gear and sprinted for the top!

It felt GREAT!!!

The run back down was all joy.

This just goes to show how running really is a mental thing. The first time I ran that hill, I let it beat me before I started. I’ve done that in races before too. I’ll get a look at the course map and see the hills and I just let it take me down. I always think, “I need to conserve. Hills are coming”.

But the thing about hills is that they want you to run ‘em and the thing about your body is that it *wants* to run ‘em too!!! It really does!

The following week, I met with Race Pace again and we ran a different route. It was crazy hilly too. It was about a 6.5 mile route and the hills started at about the 4.75 mile mark. If this sounds cruel and usual, I assure you, it is! It was a hill near my office and one I’d run many times before, but never after having already run 4.5 miles!! So again, I let this get into my head.

I thought, “Take it easy. Keep it comfortable… Cuz when you get to that hill it’s going to wring you out like an old dish rag!” And it did.

Lisa took it like a champ! And Mike, who was assigned to bringing up the rear, was really cool about keeping us in his line of vision. He greeted the hill like an old friend. Neither of them were lightning-fast when it came to the hill but they ran it like they were in charge. I gotta learn the knack of that. I tend to get really insecure when I don’t know a route.

I finished strong and in decent time, but I was convinced that I could do it better. I couldn’t wait to run that one again! Just so I could show myself that I had it in me!!!

I knew the next weekend was going to be my chance to make it up to myself. But….

For months, I’ve been struggling with shoulder impingement issues. I’ve been trying to ignore it in the hopes that it would just go away. I’d been taking it easy and just trying to stretch it and maintain my range of motion. Then one night, I decided to do some strength training. One session of treadmill sprint intervals and curls was enough to send me to the doctor’s office.

He confirmed that it was indeed Shoulder Impingement and told me that I’d likely have to see a specialist for a Cortisone shot and another one for a few rounds of Physical Therapy. Damn.

The only times I’ve willingly gone to the doctor (other than annual check-ups) are when I was passing a kidney stone, in labor, and when I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. Turned out the diet pills I had been (stupidly) taking were raising my heart rate to a dangerous level.

So when I woke up early on Sunday morning to meet Race Pace and conquer this hill, I was distressed, but not surprised, to find that I couldn’t move my shoulder without sever pain. I’d had trouble sleeping because the pain was so intense and stabilizing your shoulder while you’re running is very awkward indeed.

So I reluctantly texted Lisa and let her know not to worry about me but not to look for me because I wouldn’t be there. It was 6am and for the next hour and a half, I was fuming over those lucky bastards who were being bested by that hill run! Damn! I wanted to be out there too!!

But the day was too awesome and too drizzly. I just had to get out there, even for a little while. So after spending the day with my family and hanging out with a good friend, I took a fist full of Ibuprofen, laced up and headed for the hills.

There is a pretty substantial hill about a mile from my front door. It runs up into one of those posh, Mercedes-driving neighborhoods. I really like it. The sidewalks are smooth and wide and always well lit. So I cranked up some Eminem and hit the road.

It was wet and crispy but none of that mattered. The hardest part was keeping my shoulder stable but even that couldn’t rob me of the joy I felt to be out in the rain, conquering that hill. It was great.

And even though I was mad at Race Pace for being awesome and making me feel less than awesome, I couldn’t help noticing that even though I wasn’t tearing up that hill like a wild thing, I was running it. Running it without stopping!!! I had *never* done that before! And I owe it all to Race Pace.

So rain or shine, Shoulder Impingement or not, I will be out there next weekend running the hills with Race Pace. Thanks, guys! I *love* you!!!

On To The Run

November 13th, 2012 – 3.06 Miles - Treadmill
November 18th, 2012 – 7.06 Miles – w/Lisa, Race Pace Route, Hilly
November 20th, 2012 – 3.25 Miles – Treadmill
November 23rd , 2012 – 4.09 Miles – Outside, Windy, Kids met me on the driveway. Awesome!
November 25th, 2012 – 6.49 Miles – Race Pace, Hilly
November 29th, 2012 – 3.25 Miles – Treadmill
November 30th, 2012 – 2.75 Miles – Treadmill
December 1st, 2012 – 3.73 Miles – Outside. Rainy, SO Nice
December 2nd, 2012 – 2.75 Miles – Outside. Rainy. Hilly. SOOO Awesome!

By the way, I joined another cyber-running group called “I Would Run 500 Miles” and at the time, I was really behind so I was pretty sure I couldn’t commit to 500 miles for 2012 but I might be able to do 400. However, on around November 28th, I realized I had hit and passed 400 miles and if I ran at least 2.5 miles every day for the rest of the year, I could hit 500 miles! So that’s the new plan.

I’ll keep you posted!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Veteran’s Day Weekend – 12.91 Miles Total

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Much love and many thanks to all who serve now and forever! I have the uppermost respect, not only for those in the Military but also for those who protect our safety and freedom. Some of my favorite people have served this Country with dedication and pride. I love ‘em. Love ‘em all.

My brother is a Marine. I love Marines!!! Semper Fi!! My pretty cousin Tammi was regular Army and she’s still in the Reserves. I’m so proud of them, I could burst!!

I celebrated by running 5.27 miles on Saturday morning with my running partner, Andree. Then on Sunday morning, I ran 4.14 miles with a running club called Race Pace.

Saturday’s run was perfect. It was as bitingly cold as it gets in Southern California in November, so I wore long sleeves and running gloves. By the end, I was sweaty and a little overheated. But the day was brilliant and the company was great. Andree and I hadn’t run together in about 3 weeks. I’ve had two races and one hair appointment. Just regular life getting in the way. So I was thrilled to get this run in.

We went at a pretty decent pace. It was the first time in quite a while that I felt like my old self. I wasn’t working through any injuries and I hadn’t run since Thursday so I wasn’t fatigued either. Toward the end, I went to pass three ladies who were walking on the sidewalk. I said “Excuse me ladies” and they moved over. As I was passing, one of them tripped me, of course, and I almost ate it completely. I threw out my leg to keep myself upright and I felt that little twinge in my left knee that made me wonder if I might have been better off if I had just let myself go down.

But I didn’t and I kept running. After that, I took it a little easier and Andree finished about 2 minutes ahead of me. Damn.

While we were stretching and talking, the ladies passed us and I asked them if they were OK. I didn’t want to completely kill my pace, so after I almost brained myself on the sidewalk, I didn’t say another word to them. I just kept on running. Another runner would understand, but normal people might have thought it was rude and I was always taught to respect my elders.

They were sweet and apologetic and asked me if I was OK. I told them I was but you never know about those kinds of things until the next day. So I finished my post-workout stretch and went home.

On Sunday, I was up bright and early again to meet Race Pace for the first time! Lisa discovered them and wanted me to join with her. I was excited about this and more than a little terrified.

A running club puts me in a whole other league of runner. As long as I’m out there doing my thing on my own, all I have to do is keep up with myself. Even with a running partner, it’s not so bad. Andree is slightly better than me so she pushes me, but a team is likely to kick my ass and make me feel like a loser. But I went for it anyway…

And that’s exactly what happened. I got my ass kicked and left there feeling like a COMPLETE loser! It was supposed to be a 6 mile run. The leader asked me what my average pace was and I told her I that I ran a 12-minute mile and was proud of it! She said she would be cool with that and would loop us as the run went on.

So we started out at about a 10:30 mile pace and I didn’t do my normal 4 minutes on, 1 minute off pace because I was with a team and didn’t know the course. This ran well for about 2 miles. Then we started to climb a hill. That’s when the whole thing just went to crap!

I have ZERO tolerance for hills. I know some people love them, but I hate them. I hate ‘em like pineapples on pizza.

The rest of the run was pure unmitigated torture. It was a 200 ft climb for a mile and a half. My pace slowed to 11:49 min/mi. The rest of the team hit a turn, at which point, Lisa and I completely loss site of them and ended up near our cars.

Chris was expecting friends over at about 9am, who were visiting from out of town and wanted to meet me if they could. I saw an opportunity to make that appointment, and consequently stop this torture, so I hopped in my car and headed home with only 4.19 miles on my Runkeeper.

Lisa stayed to see if she could find out what happened to the team. It really was strange. We never felt like they got that far ahead of us but at the 4 mile mark, they seemed to just vanish.

Turned out they ran the loop again and cut through a neighborhood and we just missed them.

When I got home Chris asked me how it went. I said, “I didn’t like it. It was cold. It was miserable. It was hilly. It was too early. The pace was too fast and I because I was with a group, I didn’t get to do my normal 4 and 1 intervals. I hated every minute of it and in the end the team ran off and left us! What’s the point of driving all the way out to Moorpark to run by myself?! I could run by myself at home! I left there feeling like a GIANT Loser!!! I *HATED* it!”

He said, “Sorry, Babe. So you’re not going to go back?”

I said, “Wait! What?! Haven’t you been listening?! Of *COURSE* I’m going to back!!”

Again, another runner would understand, but like most normal people, Chris didn’t get it.

Yes, I hated it. Yes, I was miserable. Yes, I left there feeling like a GIANT loser. But none of those are reasons to quit. I’d quit if they were racists, bullies or democrats maybe (kidding), but if “It’s just too hard!” was a reason to quit, I never would have started running in the first place.

Here’s how I see it: Typically when I’m running more than 4 miles, I run 4 minutes on and 1 minute off, usually at a 12+ minute pace, on a flat surface. However, this time I ran a rather hilly 4.19 miles and even though it thoroughly SUCKED, I ended up with an 11:49 min pace. That’s improvement on the first day! Not to mention that the first 2 miles were at around a 10:30 min pace, which is something I *never* do!

I don’t expect to keep up with the elite runners in this group, but it could have been worse… And this lady is no quitter!!

Oh! One more run: November 8th, 2012 – 3.50 Mile Run
Lisa and I ran the track at the college. It was the first run since the Dirty Girl Mud Run. Running with Lisa is always cool.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 3rd, 2012 – Dirty Girl Mud Run (5k)

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was the one of the greatest days of my life!!! This was the Ventura County Dirty Girl Mud Run. It's just for women and it's in support of breast cancer research. It was a BLAST!!!!

Hear this now: I will NEVER do another organized race by myself AGAIN!!!

The races that I've done alone pale in comparison to the ones I’ve done with friends. Usually, I’m at the Start Line all by myself and generally speaking, that’s fine. Runners are awesome and I don’t usually have any trouble striking up a conversation if I’m feeling envious of their team shirts and tutus.

I was invited to participate in this race by my good friend Shea. We’ve been friends for years and why we don’t hang out more often is absolutely beyond me. She is so cool!

She was doing the race with some of the girls in her dojo. Most of them are upper level Tae Kwon Do students and some of them are 3rd degree Masters. It was a highly accomplished group. Shea, herself, is black belt.

Their team is called the Muddy Dragons and they are all Tough Mudders. Yikes!

The course was all trail and all muddy!!!

We got down in it and it was amazing!!

It was unlike any experience I’ve ever had. Not because of the mud run, I’ve done several of those. I’m no stranger to having muddy sand lodged in my girlie bits.

The part that knocked me off my feet was the shower Tent!

The shower at the end was insane! It was like the last days of Caligula in there!

Naked ladies packed into a dark tent, rubbing their bodies with water running. I will never get those images out of my head!!

I am very comfortable with my body and generally have no problem with nakedness. One of the main reasons I love my house is because the master suite has large mirrors in it. Watching me walk toward myself after a shower… I’m not gonna lie, it’s one of my favorite things. It’s like warm, melted chocolate flowing over hills and valleys. Mmmmm Mmmm….


My point is, I am *far* from prudish and even I was on edge!! Boobs were just EVERYWHERE and there wasn’t a single attempt at modesty!!! And it wasn't like they were doing their business, packing up and leaving. They were taking their time and sticking around to chat.... COMPLETELY NAKED!!! It was CRAZY!!

I can think of a few people who would have spent the $65 just to be in the shower tent! I felt dirtier after the shower than I did at any point during the race.

All of it was great. Really. It sounds like I was appalled. Not at all. Just stunned. It was a lot to take all at once because basically, you just turn a corner and BAM!!! A room full of naked women!!

All different shapes and sizes and all beautiful. It really was a great race.

This is the cool T-shirt and necklace that all registrants got. I will wear it with immense pride.

And here we are at the end. This was a best group of girls! They were so inclusive and wonderful and I can’t wait until we can get together again! GO DRAGONS!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 30th, 2012 – 3.50 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Happy Halloween!!!! I’m not a particularly big fan of Halloween but any excuse to dress up like Michael Jackson is alright with me.

Last night was the first run I’d done since the Half on the 21st. It was great and I am *so* glad that I let myself take a full week off so that my calf could heal completely. It was the first time in quite awhile that I ran without any pain or even discomfort.

I got an e-mail with a free week pass to 24 hour Fitness. Normally you would never catch me in a gym. I am a BIG fan of open air exercise. Not only because it’s free but because you are less likely to catch a bug from the cologne-soaked, herpes infected college coed running sprints on the machine next to you.

Really, dude? I’m 40 years old! Go try making eyes at the Lycra-covered hottie on the elliptical machine with the bouncy boobs, sweating to Justin Beiber!! She’s more your speed and your cologne is seriously causing my brain to hemorrhage. Seriously, who wears cologne to the gym?!

Anyway, creepy college kids and obvious STD and Staph infestation aside, the gym has equipment that is *WAY* cooler than mine!!! My treadmill is at least 3 years older than the kid trying to catch my attention and while it will allow me to set a mph pace, it doesn’t allow me to set, say a 12min/mi pace for a quarter of a mile, then a 10:50min/mi pace for the next 2.5 miles, then a 9:30min pace for a three quarters of a mile then a 13min/mi warm down.

Also, their treadmill seemed to be much easier on my joints. I felt like I could run for hours on that thing! Certainly, it wouldn’t do to train on such nice equipment exclusively. A 13.1 mile road race after training exclusively on treadmills as soft ad puffy clouds, with “The Big Bang Theory” playing overhead, would be a rude awakening indeed. But I’d highly recommend it for people who want to comfortably work on speed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 21st, 2012 –The Marla Runyan Half Marathon

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Who goes out and runs a Half Marathon without even training for it?

This girl!

While a minute part of me is impressed with the badass mutha that must make me, the majority of me knows how silly and potentially dangerous that could have been.

Fortunately, I have a pretty solid base of running experience so I was fairly certain I wouldn’t do any permanent damage but this one was pretty hairy.

My previous training run, about 5 days before the race, was supposed to be a 3.85 mile sprint. Exactly one mile from home, I strained my calf muscle and had to walk it in. I knew I’d hurt myself pretty badly and that had never happened before so I wasn’t quite sure what to do. However, I figured, I’d better rest well before the race.

Also, two weeks prior, I ran the RAD 10k in Agoura, a beautifully scenic and extremely hilly course which left me in sciatic pain agony for about 3 days.

All of these things combined, meant I didn’t get the full distance in even once before this race. The longest run I’d done was just shy of seven miles.

So I was facing this race injured and ill-prepared. What to do? What to do?!

So my options were to:

1) Run the race and risk further injury.
2) Walk the course and enjoy the scenic topography of Camarillo. Or
3) Forfeit my entry fees for a great cause, stay home and recover completely.

When I am faced with a running (or any other) conundrum, I seek the council for four men: Jesus, my husband, my brother, and my good friend Lloyd.

Jesus said, “You can do all things cuz I give you strength”. Awesome! Thanks, Jesus!!!

Chris said, “Go. And if you hurt yourself CALL ME and ask for a pick up. If you keep going and really mess yourself up, I’ll be mad at you! Now eat something and go to sleep, you have an early rise tomorrow.” Thanks, Babe, for knowing that I couldn’t back down.

Frank said, “I’m sure you’ll be fine. You’ve been running for years… You’re well prepared, if not overly prepared… Stop trippin’ and just go run it!!!” It’s so cool to have a badass ex-Marine brother who runs like chocolate lightning. He *so* gets me!

Lloyd said, “As long as you aren’t injured, just treat it like a long easy run. Do very short easy runs during the week if possible. No run the day before.” Sounds good. Lloyd always knows what to say. Of course, at the time I wasn’t injured. And had I taken his advice on the “easy does it” part, I may not have been injured at all.

As it was, I was belly up to the start line, not sure if I was going to be able to see the finish. The course was a steady climb until about the 5.5 mile mark, then a steady decline. But it was relatively flat.

I had readjusted my goal from PR, to finish in under 3 hours, to just don’t get swept up!!! (There was a rather generous 4 hour course limit).

Throughout my entire running career, I have always struck with my toe. Because of that, I tend to take smaller steps but I tend to suffer fewer injuries. It’s always worked well for me and aside from some occasional AT issues and the *very* rare blister or complete toenail loss, I saw no reason to make major adjustments to my stride.

However, having strained my left calf, planting with my toe had become excruciatingly painful. So I had about 3 days to train myself to run 13.1 miles, planting with my heel…. But only on the left!

Um….. What?!

I was already set with a good plan for hydration and calorie replacement so no worries there. So when the gun fired, it was all about getting used to this new stride and getting comfortable with it.

Miles 1 and 2 were pretty sloppy. That’s normal. The first couple miles are always a little miserable for me.

Miles 3 through 7 were about focusing on the distance and discovering that a major race is *really* the wrong time to work through a brand new running form.

By mile 8, I was literally in tears. At this point, I had run through all of my mantras and mind tricks. Michael Jackson had done all he could do and now it was time to call on a Higher Power. So I switched to my Gospel Jams and begged Jesus for help.

As usual, He was right on time. Up through about mile 8, I had maintained about an 11 minute pace. I was happy with that but it had become clear to me that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. I thought, if I could just get to mile 10, I would consider myself a success and allow myself to walk it in.

Mile 10 came and right on schedule, there was The Wall. Still, I couldn’t make myself stop. I know I should have but I thought, as long as there is breath in my body, I had to keep running. I knew a PR was out of the question but I could still make it in in under 3 hours if I just kept going.

Why? No one’s paying me. No one will think any less of me if I stopped. Even if I walked the rest of the way in, I wasn’t in much danger of being swept up. Why keep running? Certainly not to maintain my dignity! I’d left my dignity somewhere after the 9 mile mark when I arrived at the Aid Station breathless, weeping openly and unable to properly thank the kind volunteer who refilled my water bottle for me because I couldn’t get my fingers to respond to the commands my brain was sending. Why keep going?

Because I had to…… I just did.

So with my head bowed, my eyes closed and in very real danger of veering off course and into traffic, I kept running.

I can’t tell you how I got through miles 11 and 12 but I made it through. When I saw the 13 mile marker, I was so happy!!! My pace had dropped to 13 minutes but I didn’t care! This one had almost beaten me….. Almost.

This turned out to be the worst and the BEST race I’d ever done!!! Never had I ever gone into a race so discouraged and unsure of myself.

To top everything off, I made it in in under 3 hours and at the Finish Line were my two good friends: Lisa and Devin. This was Lisa and my 3rd race together and Devin and I work at the same office. It was *so* great to have people there with me after such a hard-fought victory… and yes, it was a victory!

Lisa and I did packet pick up together the day before and got to meet Marla Runyan herself! That was an honor!!!

We were all so happy to have run the race and to be done with it! I actually had a beer! I’d never had a beer after a race before but I’m given to understand that a cold beer tastes best after a long run.... And they were free to all of the Half Marathon finishers!!! I’ll have to take “their” word for it cuz I can’t imagine drinking beer just because. Ew!

I felt GREAT afterward!!! We all did! Sure, the muscles will cool and the pain will set in. I will likely have to see a doctor and I will certainly need a week to fully recover but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

These are 3 sets of very tired, very happy feet!!!

The human body is an amazing machine….. Able to withstand all manner of self-inflicted torture. I can’t wait to do it again!

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 6, 2012 – Agoura Hills RAD 10k

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a great race!!! One of my favorites. It’s hilly and brutal but it actually has a net downhill. There was a 10-miler option but I have a Half in 2 weeks so I didn’t want to push it.

I had a few goals with this race. First and foremost, the goal is to PR. I finished in 1:13, which is not an overall PR but its 4 minutes faster than I finished it last year, so I’m still calling it a win. Secondly, I wanted to pace it like I would the Half I have scheduled in two weeks. Typically, I like to stay in the 12 minute mile region for the Half and for this race I was at 11:27, another win. Finally, I wanted to aggressively hydrate and refuel during this race. This was new for me.

Typically, I don’t refuel during a 10k. I always hydrate but I usually leave the Gu and Shot Bloks for the Halfs but during my last 10k in Pasadena, the aid stations were bare and I had to fight through that one with almost no supplies.

What I learned about myself is that, no matter how I fuel up before a race or run, I am at the bottom of my fuel by the 1.5 mile mark. I can power through it and hit my second wind by mile 2, but by mile 4, I am completely out of juice. Hmmm….

What if I were to hydrate throughout the race and replace my calories every 2 miles?

That was the plan!!

It worked.

While I didn’t PR on this race, it was a PR for this course. I never ran out of fuel and I never hit The Wall. I powered up the inclines and coasted down the declines. I hit all my walk intervals and finished strong. It was good. I was happy with it.

If I can do this for the Half, I’ll be satisfied.

It was a long day. Right after the race, I went to Ventura with my mother-in-law for the annual Harvest Festival. We do it every year and we shop for crafty items and Christmas gifts.

One of the vendors is a professional photographer who shoots cool landscapes and famous locations. He had shots of Penny Lane, Liverpool, the cornerstone of the hotel where John Lennon died, the gates of Graceland and all kinds of other famous graves and landmarks.

Among his super cool collection: The Gates of Neverland Ranch!!! My mother-in-law bought it for me as a belated birthday present. SCORE!!!! Love it!

This is me with my pic and my pretty baby girl before Chris and I went to the Beer Festival in Moorpark. Yep! Same day!

By the end of the day, I was exhausted but it was a GREAT day!! A PR on a killer course… A great afternoon with my mother-in-law and a super cool gift to go with it…. And an evening of holding hands and hanging out with my best guy.

You can’t beat it!

September 4th - 3.06 Miles
September 7th - 7.38 Miles
September 8th - 3.36 Miles
September 11th - 3.37 Miles
September 15th - 3.38 Miles
September 17th - 3.16 Miles
September 22nd - 5.37 Miles
September 23rd - 4.05 Miles
September 24th - 3.85 Miles
September 27th - 4.27 Miles
September 30th - 3.72 Miles
October 2nd - 3.10 Miles
October 4th - 3.50 Miles
October 6th - 6.47 Miles --> The Agoura Hills RAD 10k

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 2012 – 27.41 Miles Total

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted but I have been keeping up with my running schedule. School starting back up seems to help a little. With the kids on a more structured schedule, there are fewer cancelled runs.

Early in the month, I did the Awesome 80’s 10k in Pasadena! It was fun but a little disorganized. It started about a half hour after it was supposed to, which wouldn’t have been terrible but, I showed up an hour and 15 minutes before the 10k gun was set to fire so I could meet with the BGR Group. Parking issues forced me to miss the group photo, which was the main reason I showed up early. Otherwise, I would have been happy just to meet the girls. So I was there for almost 2 hours before I got to run!

I had fueled up with 2 bananas before I hit the registration tables. Typically, that’s a lot of food for me but carbs burn quickly so by the time I was belly up to the Start Line, I was already hungry again. Starting a run properly fueled is Job One! And the lack of it could be the difference between an OK run and a GREAT one!!!

It was CRAZY hot out there but so many people were dressed for the event! It was fun.

This race was extra special because it was my 40th Birthday present to myself. I turned 40 the next day. This is a BIG deal on many levels but turning 40 means I get bumped up into another age group. This could be exciting.

I’m looking forward to this new phase. Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying that the 40-45 Women’s age group is a piece of cake! These ladies are no joke! They are crazy competitive. But as I move further and further into this age group, my children will become more independent and I will be able to make running more of a priority.

Also, I will be more focused on the mechanics of running. In so doing, running will likely become more beneficial for me. Gone are the days where I can run without stretching. Gone are the days when I will run without proper fuel. Gone are the days where I will run through injury. All of this means I will be more careful and aware of what my body is doing.

Getting older forces you to take better care of yourself. There will be fewer late nights, fewer missed doctor’s appointments and no more overlooking aches and pains…. That pain could mean something now and I’ll be getting it checked out.

This race taught me a few things (or *reminded* me of a few things, I should say. They were things I already knew):

First, 6+ miles is a long distance run for me. I know many people who run more than 10 to 20 miles every time they go out, but that’s not me, and there’s no shame in that. It’s just a fact: 6 miles is a long distance.

Secondly, fuel and hydration are key! Duh! Yes, I know this. We all know this. But it’s easy to get into the habit of expecting the race coordinators to have well supplied aid stations during an organized run. This wasn’t the case here. The 5k runners got to go first and the supplies were completely diminished by the time the 10k runners were on the course. I should have replaced my calories at mile 4 but I didn’t. That was on me, but I should have been able to get fresh water on the course by then. The Gatorade I had in my fuel belt was completely gone and the aids stations were tapped out. This was *very* disappointing and the last 2 miles were pretty rough.

Thirdly, 90+ degrees is hot!!! It was 92 degrees by the time we were able to get running and that is HOT!!! The 10k was scheduled to start at 9am, which is on the late side for an organized run AND this one started late so it was nearly noon when many of the runners were finished and it was burning up by then. Extreme heat is another thing that can make difference between pleasure and torture.

And finally, this race taught me that I am responsible for my racing experience. While all of these things might be a bummer, it was completely within my power to combat all of them. And next time I will. Sure, it’s nice when race coordinators have their sh_t together, but it’s not their job to make my race worth running. That’s all on me.

I have another 10k race on October 6th and a Half on the 21st….. I’ll keep in touch!

Now, on to the Run!:

September 1st – 6.36 Mile Run – Awesome 80’s 10K
September 4th – 3.06 Mile Run
September 7th – 7.38 Mile Run
September 8th – 3.36 Mile Run
September 11th – 3.87 Mile Run
September 15th – 3.38 Mile Run

Friday, August 31, 2012

August 30, 2012 – 6.17 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a good run. I had to get this run in because I just *had* to cover the distance before my race this weekend.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a race and I am *really* excited about this one. I am a part of a cyber-group of lady runners called “Black Girls Run – Los Angeles” and I am going to meet many of them for the first time!!!

I’ve met a few BGR girls at races and when scheduling permits, I meet with a beautiful lady that I met on BGR.

At the beginning of the run, the goal was to just cover the distance. It had been awhile since I’d covered more than about 4 miles. However as usual, during the run, the goal shifted. I wanted to maintain 5k pace.

The goal changed for a couple of reasons: (1) I was losing daylight and I wanted to make it home before it got completely dark, (2) I had chores to do! I still needed to feed the kids, comb Jayda’s hair for school the next day and check Jordan’s homework, (3) My body was ready for it…. Craving it really and (4) I really wanted to take inventory of what my body would need to cover a 6+ mile road race.

It felt good. Here is what I discovered: (1) Even though I’ve been bothered by injury for the last few months, my fitness level hasn’t been greatly affected so a PR is not out of reach. Thank you, running! (2) After about the half way mark, my form suffers and I am too hard on my right side, so knee pain sets in at about the 5 mile mark. I’ll have to watch that. And (3) Be properly fueled and hydrate every mile or so.

I’m ready! I’ll letcha know how it goes!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 28th, 2012 – 3.07 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a good run. I was losing daylight, so I didn’t do more than the usual distance.

The focus of this run was to work harder. Chris and I were watching Extreme Makeover and they had a lady on the program who needed to lose 150 lbs and they were running her through all the normal stuff. Exercise, nutrition, crying and whatnot.

They had her push herself to a certain HR (150, I think it was) and she whined until she got there. Then they let her stop. It reminded me that I needed to start tracking my HR again, too.

Ever since Coach Dion gave me that advice about how to run my daily run, pushing from one street pole to another, imagining I’m at the front of a race with the cameras on me and finishing the distance in 35 minutes, I’ve been setting my pace to always finish within that time frame, allowing for stops at traffic lights, of course.

Well, I’ve been able to do that distance, at that pace for quite some time without really pushing myself. So now it was time to push!!

I warmed up for the first mile or so. After that, there is the slightest incline on the route for the next half mile. That was when I turned on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” by the one and only Michael Jackson and hit it hard!!

It felt good. When I headed back home, I killed the declines cuz that’s just free money and only took breaks at the traffic lights.

A great run but the original intention was to get more distance in. I have a race this weekend and it’s a 10k. I know I can cover the distance. It would just be nice to get the distance in before the race.

Can’t do it tonight, though!!!

August 29th is Michael Jackson’s Birthday!!!!! And like every good MJ fan, I will be out celebrating!!!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 24, 2012 – 2.09 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This run was all joy! Our good friends Craig and Trista came to visit for a few days. Craig and Chris have been friends since high school and he is super cool. Craig and I worked together at the same software firm for about 3 years and Trista is my favorite Facebook buddy, so we go way back too.

We knew that they were planning a visit and Craig and I had this run planned for months. He’s a big bad Army dude who had completed a 20-mile hike two days before he came to see us so he was ready for an easy run.

This was great. He showed up at our place at about 10am and the scorching heat had passed so the weather was just perfect.

He set the pace and we talked and laughed and I just loved it. Running with Craig is as close as I’ll get to running with Chris. He’s easy going, I felt protected and the run was nothing but pleasure.

Thanks, Craig!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 22, 2012 – 3.78 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a great run and this was the prize: A Coconut Crème cupcake from Sweet Arleen’s. Mmmm….

It’s hard to say which I enjoyed more, the run or the cupcake. Both were sweet and delicious!

It was the evening of the first day of school!!! This is a happy Mom!!

Finally, summer is over! The kids can get back to their regularly scheduled program and maybe I can settle myself into a regular running schedule too.

Jordan needed a chapter book for his reading project, so we had to go to the public library. I love the public library. What self-respecting nerd doesn’t?

The books, the quiet, the relentless order and organization, the endless and accessible information…. It’s an anal-retentive, erudite, Type-A personality, Virgo’s dream!!!

And what can make a great trip to the public library a PHENOMENAL one? When Chris comes with us, and leaves me there so I can run the nearly four miles home!

The great thing about most city libraries is that they tend to be in a really pretty, well kept part of town and ours is no exception. It’s on the same block as the City Hall and the Police Department, so it is not only well kept, but very safe. The trees are beautiful and the walkways smooth and clean. Love it.

A beautiful run! My pace was decent but my main concern was making sure I consumed some calories while on this run because I wasn’t able to fuel up before we left. I brought a bottle of Gatorade and that did the trick. I was still very aware that I was starving during the whole run but it was only about 4 miles so I wasn’t worried about hitting The Wall.

I worked on breathing and form and it was a good time.

When I got home, I was too amp’d up to eat a cupcake, so I took a shower, played with my kids and had the cupcake for breakfast the next morning with my green tea. Mmmm…….

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 20, 2012 – 3.01 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a really good run. I am trying to get back to my “normal” after a minor bout with injury. This was a perfectly comfortable run.

However, I found myself distracted by my music. Usually, I really enjoy music and it enhances my experience far more often than not. Maybe because I was really interested in being in tuned to what my body was doing and the music pulled focus.

Whatever the reason, I found myself making conscious efforts to focus on how all the parts of my body were responding to the run. When I can do that, I tend to just run and “lose miles”. I’ll just start running and before I know it, I’m three miles in and have very little idea how I got there or whether or not I passed (and completely snubbed) a neighbor.

I love it when I can get lost in a run like that. Usually, I have no trouble with it. It clears my mind and I just…. Go.

I know I tend to block out everything around me during a run, so I’ve gotten into the habit of blowing a coach’s whistle whenever I’m crossing a street or driveway. I’m sure it annoys people, but I’ve got too much to live for to worry about looking stupid or offending the odd stranger for a second or two. I tend to run on busy streets and every time I hear a story of an accident caused by distracted drivers, reading or sending text messages, I get less and less concerned with offending drivers by making darn sure they see me when I’m on the street.

Also, being a woman, a whistle is a good idea, whether you’re running, shopping or just out and about. I’m always strapped with pepper spray too, which I also highly recommend. But if you’re going to carry both, just be sure you don’t fire the whistle and blow the pepper spray!

See ya on the next run! And be careful out there!

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012 – 3.03 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a wonderfully victorious run. I have been dealing with bulging disc issues. My previous 3-Mile sprint was the last straw and my back just….. Gave up. The pain was immediate, excruciating and appeared to come out of no where.

That is not exactly true. I first tweaked my hip on a pretty intense trail run several weeks ago and never let myself recover completely. It started out with sciatic pain. Compensating for it during subsequent runs, swiftly moved the pain to my back. About a week and a half of this twisted form was all my 40-year-old frame could take.

After popping many Ibuprofen gel caps, I finally had to admit that I really messed myself up and couldn’t fix it on my own. I needed to see a doctor to get myself back to normal. Fortunately, just about everyone in my office goes to the same chiropractor and he’s right next door to our building. So I made an appointment and went to see Dr. Ed.

My biggest fear was that he would tell me that running was not for me and I would have to find another means to get my sweat on.

This is a big problem for me, as I believe running is the only real sport. No disrespect to all those wonderful, swimming, tumbling, racketing, throwing, shooting and diving Olympians. They all have my love and respect but frankly, Track & Field, the Marathon, and even that ridiculous Steeple Chase were the only things that held my attention. Although, honorable mention goes to Women’s Beach Volleyball. Yowza!

After seeing the doctor, I was told that I was twisted up pretty good and it would take a round of treatments to set me straight again. Being a sports doctor, he was just as eager to get me back into my running shoes, but in the meantime, I would have to do something else.

I had agreed to join a team for the Ventura County Dirty Girl Mud Run this November, so I figured swimming as well as other aquatic exercise was a good option to work into my cross training. So I headed to the nearest public pool and purchased a punch pass:

This is a washed out picture of me after an hour of swimming laps and water jogging. Feeling good:

But it wasn’t just swimming and water jogging. Dr. Ed also approved of yoga. This was not my favorite but it helped a great deal:

I spent the next two weeks, swimming, doing yoga and spending time with the fam. It was a great time.:

I made several loaves of Amish Friendship Bread. Yum!:

I went to see Michael Firestone in concert. He’s the best Michael Jackson impersonator around. He was great:

Spending time with my girl. She's cute!:

Chris and I took the kids to Hurricane Harbor. That was awesome!:

This is me and my Beloved. Sweet!:

Now I am back and ready to (slowly and easily) roll!!! I will continue on with the swimming and as much of the yoga as I can stand. Cross training is never a bad idea. Taking it easy was rough but it reminded me of how grateful I am to be strong and healthy. Injury sucks but I have so much respect for my body and how wonderfully and fearfully made it is. God is so good and He made our bodies so perfectly. I’m so glad I get to run around in this one. It’s a good one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 17th, 2012 – 4.05 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Being a busy mom takes its toll on a runner’s schedule. Both my babies were feeling ill and Jayda had to stay home from school today. This was probably why I was so determined to get this run in. I loved taking the time off to be with my little lady all day but by the end of it, I was desperate to get outside.

So when Chris offered to bring dinner home, I jumped at it, threw on my gear and waited with bated breath for him to walk through the door. I paused long enough to drop a few kisses of gratitude, and hit the door!

This used to be what I’d call a “typical” run but it has been so long since I’ve been on what I’d call a typical schedule, I found this one to be quite extraordinary.

It was a street run that started on my doorstep, but I have been sidelined by sciatic and back pain recently. Also, Chris has been working so much overtime that my days of being dropped off as we were both picking up the kids are long gone and my running schedule has taken a major beating. So it had been quite a while since I was able to just get a run in after work.

Believe me I felt it, too. My original goal was to get 5-miles in but I figured out early on this run that I would be running in the dark if I stayed out for the full 5 miles, so I cut it short. It turned out to be a wise choice because when I was about a mile away from home on the return trip, I felt a weird knee twinge that might have been due to some over compensation.

I didn’t feel like the sciatica was a real problem for this run but I have noticed that I will unconsciously compensate when my body feels out of whack.

So going forward, the new goal is to work on form and get back to running without pain. That’s a worthy goal for someone wishing to run until they’re 85, which is my long-term plan.

Previous Run
July 16th, 2012 – 1.50 Mile Run. Treadmill sprint.

See ya on the next run….